Only just caught this thread!
First, big clap for JDI :]
I see so many kids come through our PC who don'tknow the minimum needs of their horses... It makes me sick, makes me angry... But that's not my point, that was yours, and I agree :]
There are a lot of variables, in regards to feet, teeth, amount of feed, etc. That's a given, so I won't adress that.
MIEventer, i'm one of those kids whose parents paid for everything :] They paid for about 5 years of lessons, then I became a junior staff at my riding school, then they leased me a pony and then bought me a pony and so-on. BUT, now that I am earning my own wage, I pay for everything. I am still dedicated, still loving it as much as I did when I was 10. Not all the kids whose parents paid are bad horsepeople/don't stick it out. I know there are lots, I know many of them, but not all of us :]
That isn't a cheap horse! I haven't added up totals on my two horses, but they get a trim @ $35 ever 8-12 weeks, or longer if they don't need it. A biscuit of hay @ $10 per bale daily and one scoop of feed @ $25? per bag. They are the only regular costs. They get teeth floated when needed @ $180 per horse, vet if needed, (ours charges reasonable amounts). Shots aren't as big a deal here, ours get strangles and tetanus once every couple of years. Oops, forgot worming, thats $12 p/h every couple of months (they are regularly rotated, etc.).
I think that most people don't figure about these expenses. Think about this: healthy, unboarded horses cost $180/month. This is more than $2100 a year per horse. This is without farrier costs and with only minimal shots.
Although a horse can miss a few trims and be ok, it doesn't take too long for a badly fitting saddle to do damage to a horses back, the sverity depending upon the fit of saddle and how often the horse is ridden.
^^^Brilliant point. My current horse is nearly crippled due to a bad fitting saddle over 2 years. See my other threads if you want more details, but saddle fit is a HUGE deal.